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Adding Metadata Comments and Notes to Media in Final Cut Pro

Danny Greer
By Danny Greer
By Danny Greer

In this post, we’ll explore how to add notes and comments to your media in the Final Cut Pro Browser. Adding this type of metadata will help to speed up your editing process and keep your project more organized.

While the post-production community waits on pins and needles for the upcoming release of Final Cut Pro X and it’s extensive built-in metadata tools, it’s important to note that there are ways to tag clips in current versions of FCP as well. Although the tools in FCP X appear to automate much of the clip tagging process (we will know for sure when Final Cut Pro X is released later this month), the time it takes to add this information in earlier versions of FCP is well worth it.

Remember, a small time investment on the front end can mean a huge time savings later on! Don’t go searching through hours of footage to find a shot in your project — tag your media with a comment or note, search for the text tag in the Browser and add the shot to your timeline. Simple!

  1. In the Final Cut Pro Browser window, scroll to the right until you see the Description column (there is a number of columns you can use — Description, Master Comment 1, Master Comment 2, Log Note).  I prefer Description but you can pick any column that allows you to enter custom text.
  2. Click the column name, hold it down and drag left (I like to keep my Description column as one of the first columns in the Browser).
  3. After importing clips into your project, go through the clips one by one.  For each clip, add comments / tags in this column to describe the clip.  Note:  you can also add this data to subclips as well.Tip:  Watch clips in fast forward with audio scrubbing on, to speed up the logging / tagging process.

The benefit of tagging the clips in your Final Cut Pro project is the ability to quickly search for them. Avoid backtracking and wasting precious edit time trying to re-look for shots you’ve already previewed.

  1. With the Browser as your active window use the shortcut COMMAND + F
  2. Type the term you’d like to search and hit “OK”
  3. To see the next matching result, again use the shortcut COMMAND +F.Tip:  Create a universal tagging protocol.  For instance, don’t use ten variations of the word “funny” (hilarious, funny, goofy, silly, etc) when tagging different clips.  Just use “funny.”  This way, you only need to search “funny” to see all relevant clips. I also like to tag clips “Good” or “Bad” if they are exceptionally one or the other.

So although FCP 7 and earlier versions may not have the same mind-blowing metadata tools that we anticipate in FCP X, as you can see there is still functionality for adding notes and clips to media in your project.  The exercise of quickly viewing all the media in your project and logging / tagging accordingly also allows you to quickly get familiar with the media you have to work with….something that the automated metadata tools in Final Cut Pro X might (perhaps unfortunately) make unnecessary.